Imagine a Water Tower turned into a hotel — I think of a ball shaped thing on legs like you see dotted across the midwest of the USA- and I scratch my head at the thought. The Dutch however have different types of water towers. They look like this (castles) and a few years ago, after spotting the beautiful building in an image of the town in 1930’s the creators of this amazing hotel decided to give the building new life.
No longer surrounded by water, the creation of The Hotel Augustus and it’s landscape, recreated an opportunity to surround the premises with water and nature. After renovation, the river Vlij now flows again, the water tower/ hotel is surrounded by gardens and the original pumping station has been converted to a restaurant and a market-café.
Sited on the spot where the water basins for Dordrecht’s water tower were located, a formal but quirky garden was created.
They “envisaged a garden that would do justice to all the images that the thought of a garden evokes. A garden that supplies food, a garden that is a feast for the eye and delight for the nose, a garden that reflects the changes of the seasons, a garden where sun and moon, wind and water, air and rain can be felt. A garden that makes you feel uplifted and humble at the same time. A garden that reminds you of all the promises and possibilities that lie ahead. A garden that inspires the cook and that in turn is
inspired by the kitchen – the cook and the gardener, the gardener and the cook.”
There is an entrance garden, a vegetable garden for fresh produce, a garden full of berries, a hothouse for grapes and a greenhouse. A Giardino Segreto (Secret Garden) in which you can disappear or even stay the night (there is a hotel room in the secret garden), a copse to roam about, an orchard with apples, pears, plums, cherries and last but not least an Italian garden.
I yearn for projects like this and take enormous inspiration from it. From the quirky formal garden to the business model of creating a hotel and landmark that flows directly from the land and whose main feature is the landscape, I am contemplating how my own little slice of land can be put to better use.
read more about the history of this place at this fun website.